KC Royals: Five Worst Managers In Team History

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Manager Tony Pena of the Kansas City Royals (Photo by Albert Dickson/Sporting News via Getty Images)

Fifth Worst Royals Manager – Tony Pena

Pena took over as KC Royals manager 34 games into the 2002 season. Pena was fired early in 2005, compiling a 198-285 record for a .410 winning percentage while lasting close to three full seasons at the helm.

Pena makes the list for the particularly embarrassing scandal he left behind after his sudden resignation on May 10, 2005.

Along with the Royals cratering to a 8-25 start that season, Pena’s North Kansas City neighbor Kelly Locke testified in a divorce proceeding that Pena had an affair with Locke’s wife.

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Tony Pena and his wife Aramis lived across the street from Kelly and Monica Locke. Pena resigned from the Royals shortly before the trial started in May of 2005.

Pena’s departure capped a rather rapid meltdown after he had managed the Royals to their first winning record in 9 seasons in 2003.

The KC Royals started out with nine straight wins and stood 17-7 at the end of April. They continued to hold first place at the All-Star break with a seven game bulge over the rest of the division. Not only were the Royals winning, they seemed to have been inspired by Pena’s optimistic slogan “Nosotros Creomos” (We Believe) that he had unveiled during spring training.

Pena’s soap bubble of beflief almost carried the Royals to the post-season by inspiring a collection of journeyman players to have career years (such as they were).

It takes a pretty terrible manager to fail despite the Baseball Gods bathing his team in pixie dust for a full season.

Jose Lima returned to MLB from the wilderness of the Independent League in June, and went 7-0 in his first 8 starts. Chris George somehow posted a 9-6 record, despite a 7.11 ERA. Shortstop Angel Berroa won Rookie of the Year for a .287/.338/.451 line with an OPS of .789. Minor-league journeyman Aaron Guiel smacked 15 of his career 35 home runs that season for an OPS of .835. Mike MacDougal took over the closer role with 27 saves and his only All-Star appearance.

The team posted a winning record despite allowing 31 more runs than they scored.

Despite the perfect storm of good fortune, the Royals faded down the stretch to finish 83-79 in 3rd place.

The team imploded the next season, never recovering from a 7-14 April to finish a dismal 64-98. By the time the 2004 ended, Kansas City’s mini-revival was long over. By that time, it was clear that 2003 had been a mirage.

That 2004 team became the first in Royals history to lose 100 games in a season by finishing 58 and 104. The 2005 team that Pena bailed on went on to lose 106 games, which is the most in franchise history.

It takes a pretty terrible manager to fail despite the Baseball Gods bathing his team in pixie dust for a full season.

Yet, Tony Pena left Kansas City in shame.

Next: Fourth Worst Manager In KC Royals History